From BARKAA to Baker Boy – finalists nominated for the National Indigenous Music Awards

The National Indigenous Music Awards will return this year after two years of live performances being canceled due to COVID-19.

The finalists for this year’s coveted National Indigenous Music Awards have been chosen, along with live programming from the ceremony at the Darwin Amphitheater on August 6.

NIMA is back to celebrate Indigenous music in person with an open community and has already announced an exciting lineup.


Artists Thelma Plum and King Stingray will be joined on stage by a host of deadly talent from Emma Donovan & the Putbacks, Birdz & Fred, Leone, Yirrmal and J-MILLA.

Topping this year’s list of awards is BARKAA, the Malyangapa and Barkindji wife and fast rising star, with four NIMA nominations.

BARKAA looking for new talents and the clip of the year. image credit: Luke Currie-Richardson

Known for her hard-hitting rap tracks, BARKAA earned a nomination for her songs King Brown and Black Matriarchy, as well as a shot at New Talent of the Year.

After three nominations, Yolngu Man Baker Boy’s debut album Gela and his track My Mind are up for awards. He is also up for Artist of the Year.

Among the brightest stars in show business in the country, the list of nominees also includes past finalists and winners.

The Kid Laroi, Jessica Mauboy, Electric Fields, King Stingray, Miiesha, Mo Ju, Emma Donovan & the Putbacks, Birdz, Dallas Woods, Archie Roach, Tasman Keith and Tilly Tjala Thomas are among the finalists.

Xavier Rudd, Jem Cassar-Daley, Lil Kootsie, Dobby and dameeeela received their first nominations.

‘”After a two-year hiatus, it is very exciting to bring NIMA back to Darwin

Baker Boy named Artist of the Year and Album of the Year

Amphitheater on the land of Larrakia,” said NIMA creative director Ben Graetz.

“I’m thrilled to see such an amazing list of finalists this year and look forward to seeing live performances from some of our most powerful First Nations musicians, such as Thelma Plum and Emma Donovan & the Putbacks.

“This year is about coming together and celebrating as one big community.”

NIMA has teamed up with Triple J and his First Nations show, Blak Out, to create a two-hour special.

Tickets for the event are on sale now.


Artist of the Year

  • Kid Laroi
  • Jessica Mauboy
  • baker boy
  • Electric fields
  • Thelma Prune
  • King Stingray

song of the year

  • Backseat Of My Mind – Thelma Plum
  • Made for Silence – Miiesha
  • Milkumana – King Stingray
  • Sometimes – Mo Ju
  • King Brown–Barkaa
  • Ball and Chain – Xavier Rudd

album of the year

  • Baker Boy – Gela
  • Emma Donovan & the Putbacks – Beneath These Streets
  • Jem Cassar-Daley – I don’t know who to call
  • Birdz – Legacy
  • Dallas Woods – Julie’s Boy
  • Archie Roach – My Songs 1989 – 2021

Movie clip of the year

  • Love Too Soon – Tasman Keith
  • King Brown–Barkaa
  • Matriarchy blak – Barkaa
  • My Mind – Baker Boy
  • Automatic – Jessica Mauboy

New talent of the year

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